Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, vbi humana omnia non nisisomnium esse docet. The text is written in a highly learned mix of Italian, Latin and Greek. Its author, usually identified as the Venetian Dominican priest Francesco Colonna , expounds a complex theory of ethics and aesthetics, which was certainly addressed to a public of learned humanists. Detailed ekphrases , up to five or six pages sometimes, describe at great length ideal buildings in the style of antique architecture, introducing in the text a spatial dimension that the illustrations prolong and complexify. The Master of the Polifilo, whoever he was, must have been quite familiar with contemporary theories about the representation of space, especially interior spaces, that he boldly applies to illustration.
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No se sabe muito bem quem foi o seu autor, muito menos qual o sentido do livro, repleto de imagens estranhas, textos impenetrveis e referncias obscuras. Atribui-se a autoria do livro a Francesco Colonna, intelectual italiano do sculo XV, apenas porque no livro aparece a inscrio latina "poliam frater franciscus columna peramavit". A impenetrabilidade do texto e o obscurantismo das ilustraes levam a pensar que o livro est escrito em cdigo, contendo cdigos sobre cdigos, enigmas cuja resoluo leva a novos enigmas.
Publicado em , foi composto pelo tipgrafo veneziano Aldus Manutius, que inventou o tipo de letra Aldus, ainda hoje utilizado na nossa era de impressoras digitais. O que surpreende no livro o enciclopdico conhecimento sobre arquitectura, paisagstica, engenharia, pintura e escultura, aplicado num livro de forte contedo ertico, cujo enredo descreve o sonho de Polfilo, em busca da sua amada Polia.
O seu sonho leva-o a jardins encantados, bosques de tortura, edifcios, palcios e jardins fantsticos. As descries so detalhadas ao ponto do fetichismo. O livro entendido, por aqueles que o leram poucos, devido impenetrabilidade do texto , como um manifesto poltico que defende o direito da mulher expressar a sua sexualidade e a superioridade de Eros, o amor, da beleza e do conhecimento perante a violncia e a guerra.
As ilustraes detalhadas so um primor das tcnicas de impresso da poca, complementando brilhantemente o texto do livro.
Ser o Hypnerotomachia um mau livro, romance mal escrito, que apenas sobreviveu graas percia do impressor e beleza das ilustraes, ou ser mesmo um livro misterioso, contendo cdigos enigmticos cujo desvendar poder levar revelao de segredos obscuros? Published in , it is modeled on the idyllic, pastoral, bucolic romanzo damore, a tradition that had reached its peak over a century earlier with its universally acknowledged master, Giovanni Boccaccio, whose works included Filostrato , Teseida , Ninfale Fiesolano s and Amorosa visione It is an anachronism.
It adds nothing to the amorous imaginary. It brings together all the stereotypical characters traditionally associated with what was by then a highly stylized genre: the enamored hero and the indifferent heroine, attended by scores of stock characters -- nymphs, naiads, satyrs, gods, goddesses, and demigods -- who, all to predictably, sing, dance, make merry, advise, and in general eagerly officiate whenever the opportunity arises for the lovers to engage in one rite of union or another.
Its settings bow to the invariable formula of verdant glades, babbling brooks, and enclosed gardens. As for the plot, it too conforms to the conventions of the genres time-worn topoi -- the lovers unrequited love, his quest to win the heart of the heroine, loves triumph, the illusion dashed.
The action of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili takes place in a dream. The books opens on the hero, Poliphilo, who has spent a restless night because his beloved, Polia, has shunned him. At the break of day, he finally falls into a deep slumber and his "Hypnerotomachia," or, as it can be roughly translated, "struggle for love in a dream," begins.
The action is particularly absurd, however, even by the standards of the genre. Poliphilo is transported into a wild forest. He gets lost, escapes, and falls asleep once more. He then awakens in a second dream, dreamed inside the first. Within it, he is taken by some nymphs to meet their queen.
There he is asked to declare his love for Polia, which he does. He is then directed by two nymphs to three gates. He chooses the third, and there he discovers his beloved. They are taken by some more nymphs to a temple to be engaged. Along the way they come across no less than five triumphal processions celebrating the union of the lovers. Then they are taken to the island of Cythera by barge, with Cupid as the boatswain; there they see another triumphal procession celebrating their union.
The narrative is uninterrupted, and a second voice takes over, as Polia describes he erotomachia from her own point of view. This takes up one fifth of the book, after which the hero resumes his narrative. They are blissfully wed, but Polia vanishes into thin air as Poliphilo is about to take her into his arms. A conventional romanzo. So the book has been read over the past five hundred years.
But does this sum up all that is interesting about the erotic theme of the Hypnerotomachia? Only partly, as we shall see.
Copyright The MIT Press. All rights reserved. Typography The fact that it survives today after half a millenium as a standard in Western typography makes the Hypnerotomachia one of the most significant contribution of the Renaissance to the history of printing. Adding to its typographical tour de force, the book also contains prototypical Greek fonts, one of the earliest examples of Hebrew type, and what are the first Arabic passages in the history of European publishing.
Fonts One of the features of the Hypnerotomachia that has attracted the attention of scholars has been its use of the famed Aldine "Roman" type font, invented by Nicholas Jenson but distilled into an abstract ideal by Francesco Biffi da Bologna, a jeweler who became Alduss celebrated cutter. This font generally viewed as originating in the efforts of the humanist lovers of belles-lettres and renowned calligraphers such as Petrarch, Poggio Bracciolini, Niccolo Niccoli, Felice Feliciano, Leon Battista Alberti, and Luca Pacioli, to re-create the script of classical antiquity appeared for the first time in Bembos De Aetna.
Recut, it appeared in its second and perfected version in the Hypnerotomachia. Lower case fonts Technically Biffis achievement consists in having carried out a reduction in the relative weight of the lower cases, creating what the renowned English printing historian Stanley Morison has called a superbly harmonious effect. Appearing after the domination of the Gothic, when fonts were inspired by classical calligraphy were still novel, this font is considered the most modern in appearance of fifteenth century types and marks a watershed.
Upper case fonts This is further enhanced by the introduction of a delicately proportioned font of capitals. Bibliophiles and historians of printing, such as Morison and George painter, admire the rounded and strong outline of the Hypnerotomachia font, "tall in uprights abd firmly seriphed, both bold and delicate, equally dark and radiant in its blacks and whites.
Alduss biographer, Martin Lowry, points out that the capitals have a relative height and weight governed by the proportion recommended by Feliciano and only partially reduced to by Pacioli. Decorated initials Equally admired is the particular care lavished on the decorated initials at the head of each chapter. Some are in hatchwork, while others, still finer, are decorated in strapwork or tendriled foliage and flowers.
Technopaegnia Besides displaying a remarkable level of visual culture and clarity , the Hypnerotomachia must also be seen as an extraordinary visual-typographical-textual assemblage of a type not repeated until the avantgarde books of the s and s.
Among its feats of typographical ingenuity, the form of goblets and drinking vessels is reproduced in the layout of the text in the page. Woodcuts The woodcuts are at least as studied as the font of the Hypnerotomachia. The book is unique in being the only illustrated one to have been published by Aldus. Yet the identity of the cutter is unknown.
Most of the woodcuts from this period are mediocre. This is no doubt because, as we know from Arthur Hind, in the late fifteenth century, book woodcuts were still considered an inferior art form, especially compared to illuminations, but indeed among the visual arts in general.
The Hypnerotomachia is one of the two Venetian books that does stand out for its great quality; the other is the Malermi Bible, named after its Italian translator, which was printed in and reprinted in by Giovanni Ragazzo for Lucantonio Giunta with woodcuts. The images of the Hypnerotomachia are far superior. They are distinguished by their design in the same stil nuovo as the high arts of the time.
Sculpted by a woodcutter, their original designs have been associated above all with Andrea Mantegna who, more than any other figure, shaped the new classicizing style in engraving. Scholars have even been tempted to see the influence of the young Raphael, an attribution that is difficult to support as Raphael was sixteen years old at the time.
Poliphilo hears the music from pp. Cinematic visual logic One of the features of the Hypnerotomachia that Liane Lefaivre uses to argue for the Alberti attribution is the cinematic visual logic at work in the book, based on Albertis interest in capturing movement.
She bases her argument on the passages in Albertis On Painting devoted to movement, and on his "dimostrazioni," early forerunners of modern cinema. Moving bodies Leon Battista Alberti, in his De pictura, had argued that painters should depict human figures in movement.
The illustrations of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili appear as applications of this tenet. Our team here at the DKS has taken this literally, and has made some of the moving bodies actually spring to life.
Hypnerotomachia Poliphili - Francesco Colonna
Francesco Colonna's Hypnerotomachia Poliphili